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Your Letters on Politics, Pandemic, Pearls and More

Readers share their thoughts on the current state of jewelry retailing.

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  • We are living in an incredibly distracted world. It can be very easy to get sucked into the media, both on television and social media. Politics are the heightened story of the world we are living it today. It is important to take a step back and think on how it all really affects your life and business. Once I took a step away from the news and the political boastings of the world, I made the vast realization that no matter what is going on politically, I will be right here doing what I love: selling diamonds and designing jewelry. I am committed to being the best at it, and I can only do that if I steer away from what the television and internet is telling me. My success is only steered by one captain, and that captain is me. Even in tremulous seas, I will voyage onward, and on the sunniest of days, I find it is important to take pause and recognize what is truly important in my life and what to be grateful for. — Kaeleigh Testwuide, The Diamond Reserve, Denver, CO
  • Display pearls conspicuously no matter how you feel about politics! Pearls are huge this year! Ride that wave! — Stacey Horcher, J. Reiss, Lincolnwood, IL
  • I’ve always said the world is full of idiots and 2020 really brought them out in droves. I’m not one to usually call someone out for asking a stupid question but damn….I had some people asking some really stupid questions in 2020. I hope 2021 makes a turn for the better and people find some common sense or I’m going to invest in a bourbon distillery. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX
  • I am always interested in the selling and marketing process in the day of social media/web-driven sales and how designers choose to sell their products. The divide between selling wholesale to shops and direct to consumer seems to be getting larger as it’s hard to expect a store to support you if you are selling directly from your own site and with a discount on top of it. It’s something in the industry that is becoming a larger and larger issue, and the rules always seem to be changing! — Laura Kitsos, Gem Jewelry Boutique, Oak Park, IL
  • It’s a funny time in our history. Some customers are giddy, while most are gloomy. We as retailers have to keep on keeping on no matter what. But, the question remains, do we keep charging forward with this economy and buy accordingly, or brace for a downturn and preemptively pull back? — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • The pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for the locally owned jewelry store industry. Many communities have come together during this time and felt a sense of pride in shopping locally. Hopman Jewelers has looked at older items that may have not sold and tried ways to revamp something by putting another stone in the center, turning that gaudy ring into a pendant, or splitting something up to make earrings. It has worked for us! We have eliminated new purchases and turned something that may have sat here for years into something that has sold in a matter of 24 hours once it’s been revamped! We had an excellent year in 2020 despite all of the chaos. We’ve appreciated our customers and have looked at things differently. We did not over-invest in new product this Christmas and focused on the pieces we currently had in stock. It has worked in our favor! — Lauren Mora, Hopman Jewelers, Elkhart, IN
  • The article on how De Beers and Blue Nile teamed up under the guise of helping 10 female designers sounded great. Dig in a bit more and it is the start of De Beers selling more directly through online sources, taking away yet another source from brick-and-mortar stores and further eroding margins. Helping young designers … great; more likely an excuse to sell direct … shame, shame De Beers. — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, AB
  • I’ve been really feeling like there’s a huge divide in the industry between those who refuse to adapt to a changing world and those who are wanting to help usher in those changes. I think 2020 was a big turning point in our society. I think those who are onboard are going to have a great year, but those who are digging their heels in and complaining are going to find themselves in the beginning of their steady decline. — Becky Bettencourt, Blue River Diamonds, Peabody, MA
  • We find that even customers we have not seen in 25 years (!) and who moved out of state suddenly look at our website and contact us to order anniversary gifts! This has happened numerous times since the pandemic, and it is encouraging. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL

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